Condoms to be given out at gay nightspots

Published: March 31, 2011

Health authorities will set up "Condom Points" to dispense free condoms at entertainment venues frequented by gay men in a bid to reduce risky sexual behaviour and the transmission of HIV/Aids.

Under the pilot project, purple plastic boxes filled with 300 condoms of different sizes and lubricant gel packs will be installed at entertainment spots targeting men who have sex with men (MSM) such as discos, karaoke bars, fitness centres, saunas and beauty salons.

The project is part of a national Aids prevention plan among this particular group.

HIV surveillance data indicates a high HIV transmission rate among MSM in Thailand due to unsafe sex. Of the estimated 10,097 new HIV cases expected this year, 30% would involve men having sex with men, according to the Public Health Ministry.

"If we don’t come up with any prevention plan, this MSM group could account for half the total new cases in the country in the next 14 years," said Public Health permanent secretary Paijit Warachit.

So far operators of 188 entertainment nightspots in 30 provinces including Chiang Mai, Chon Buri and Phuket have agreed to participate.

Dr Paijit said the Condom Point programme is planned to cover entertainment spots nationwide by next year.

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